Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.


Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Mitchell


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 433

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24217

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 11:30am-12:00pm, or by appointment

Course Objectives:

In this course we will examine how music functions to help create meanings in film and television programs. Examples will be drawn from throughout the history of film and television.  We will approach the subject of film music largely chronologically after an introductory unit on music and film terminology.  Television music will be examined at the end of term, time permitting.


The material will be presented through lectures, regular readings from the assigned textbook and weekly viewings of movies.  All of the movies selected for this class are available for viewing/listening in Mills library.  Alternatively, students can rent or purchase the films through services such as iTunes or other online sources.




Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Hickman, Roger.  Reel Music: Exploring 100 Years of Film Music.  New York: W.W. Norton

and Company, 2005.


Films to be viewed listed in the Course Schedule.

Method of Assessment:

Test #1                                                Wed. July 9     6:00-7:00pm (TSH 120)         30%

Test #2                                                Wed. July 23   6:00-7:00pm (TSH 120)         30%

Final Exam (Cumulative):       Wed. Aug. 6    6:00-8:00pm (TSH 120)         40%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Students are required to write tests and the final exam on the dates indicated below. Alternate test and exam dates for individual students will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Students who need to defer the midterms because of illness and for compassionate reasons need to apply to their faculty office for special accommodation.  All students requesting deferred tests need to notify the instructor by email prior (or no longer than 24 hours after) the test time.  Deferred mid-term tests will be one week following the original test date (at 6pm, and in TSH 120).   No further deferrals will be allowed.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Avenue to Learn

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course.  The available information is dependent on the technology used.  Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure.  If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule

(may be subject to alteration)

All page numbers for readings are from the required textbook.




Week 1  (June 23, 25)


Introduction to Music and Film Terminology

Chapters 1-4


Week 2  (June 30, July 2)


Early Film History

Chapters 5, 6, 8, 9

Week 3 (July 7, 9)

Wed. July 9: Test 1

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Casablanca (1942)

Chapters 10-14

Week 4  (July 14, 16)

Wed. July 16: Lecture starts at 7:00

Singin' in the Rain (1952), Psycho (1960)

Chapters 15-18, 20


Week 5  (July 21, 23)

Wed. July 23: Test 2

The Graduate (1967), The Godfather: Part I (1972)

Chapters 21-24


Week 6  (July 28, 30)

Wed. July 30: Lecture starts at 7:00

Star Wars: A New Hope (1976), Amadeus (1984)

Chapters 25, 27, 28, 29

Week 7  (Aug. 6)

Mon. Aug. 4: NO CLASS (Civic Holiday)

Wed. Aug. 6: Final Exam